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Rapha Festive 500 back for an eighth year

Registration opens on Wednesday for annual challenge to ride 500 kilometres between Christmas and New Year

The Rapha Festive 500 is back for an eighth year, challenging cyclists to ride 500 kilometres during the eight days between Christmas and New Year.

Online registration for this year’s edition will open on Wednesday 6 December and the same day also sees the launch of a Rapha collection dedicated to it, comprising a cap, musette, neck warmer, socks and T-shirt.

People logging 500 kilometres on Strava will be entitled to receive a commemorative woven patch celebrating their achievement, and as in previous years, a variety of prizes will also be offered.

The concept of the Rapha Festive 500 started in 2009 when the brand’s lead designer, Graeme Raeburn, challenged himself to ride 1,000 kilometres between Christmas and New Year.

When the event was opened to the public the following year, the distance was halved to 500 kilometres, with 84 riders taking part; by last year, that had risen to 82,000.

People taking part in the challenge are asked “to document their journey and submit their stories to Rapha.”

The brand says that “entries can take any format, and we are looking for the most original, emotional or thought provoking.

Some 800 cyclists entered last year’s Rapha Festive 500 competition, with Ruth Cousins from Wales winning a trip to Steamboat Springs in Colorado, USA to pick up her first prize of a custom-built Moots bike.

Cousins, a police officer, had submitted seven hand-painted cards addressed to her late father in which she wrote of her rides in Wales in winter as well as her job and caring for her family.

Simon has been news editor at since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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